What’s *not* in thy name?

importance of names

The universal attempt to invoke the Shakespearean geniosity by taking to perhaps his most classic deliverance of ‘What’s in a name’ might be one emerging as very valid as well in its mere mention. After all, for all one knows and cares about, a name is but only an identity and you might be as well off with any name bestowed upon you. Because the ultimate identity of one dwells in who they are and what they do and so a name would only be as esteemed as what one makes out of it. But come to think about it in somewhat more depth and this ordinary perception of the name can well be triggering an identity crisis of sorts. Because sure, you might as well and as conveniently be named X as you are now known as Y but it is important still that you are known by a name at least. For without that coming together of the letters that spell out your name in diction and sprawls it out across papers and documents and identifies you indeed even in all that you very well do, one would be only but a he or she or an it even, or might encompass indeed such passing into considerable oblivion that makes them alluded to as one among the them-s or they-s instead.

Given such essential residing along the length and utterance of a name, it’s perhaps no more logical to muse upon the Bard of Avon’s own musing in naming conundrumness, Tweaking therefore the question in such manner that specifies instead a particular ‘the’ of name would perhaps be more conveniently appropriate a matter to explore but even here what one would discover in utterly surprising a deviation from classical adage is a revelation as starkly relevant. For it turns out that names matter and they do matter a lot and not just in the extent of endowing upon people and places and things and entities with a very definite identity that still does as much as to establish their uniqueness as individual existences but also in affecting to quite great extents what they indeed make out of that moniker in all their conscious and subconscious living through it.

In even the most practical essence in which it finds use, names yield an importance profound enough to therefore almost sum up our identity as individuals. Whether that be introducing ourselves in own definite attributes of what make us up and defines almost our personalities to beginning to look like how our names sound, this naming of humans is a ploy of existence both essential and existential. Our names impact every single thing about us- from the way we are perceived and received by others to the way we place ourselves in professions and careers as well as finding resonance across our appearances in the very nature of our name while probably influencing also life decisions like marriage, the nomenclature endowed upon us as almost the first thing of our exclusive owning truly is as special and significant as can be. And it is in harbouring this immense pride and potential of naming that explains why it sparks a certain pleasure of inexplicable basis when our names are correctly and assertively pronounced by the people around us and just why it feels so validating to specially hear our name spell out in the voices of our loved ones.

All this immense thrust on what could after all be any other random name entailing the essence of also numerous others like you and me could sound like almost farcical a matter commanding of comprehension but the premise across which this universal yielding of identity comes to assert so tremendous an influence upon each one of us of course in their own area of pertinence is one essentially simple despite its intricate working out across a range of associated factors. As something so characteristic of our beings at every stage of life, that we encounter in regularly routine recurrence and respond therefore not always utterly consciously as well, our names tend to be deeply embedded in our psyche as the identity we live by and therefore have to live up to. The notion might not be one very imposing in stature but as something we innately strive to do to emerge as appropriately reflective of our naming across our doings as well, this power of our name sure is a force more persisting in its elaborate agenda of eking things out of us. It helps also the fact that our name is perhaps the most personal intangible asset alluding directly to us and to no other in that particular assertion even when we indeed do share our names and certainly our surnames- and sometimes the entirety of it all- with (many) others.

As one aspect of our identity that we cannot be robbed off nor one that requires any conscious effort to be made to be maintained in alluding to us, our names are an influence upon ourselves that encompass a wide range of the dynamics through which every human being lives their life in assertion of their ethnic and cultural identity. But beyond this realisation of caste and race and religion and creed through the details embedded in the mere mention of names also rests the power of a perception availing from ourselves. All these tend to be related attributes emerging out of this singularly flowing assertion of what pans as our name, as something that serves as the yardstick for our identification and provides therefore the basis of our perceiving by others leading therefore to assert also as such awareness of selves stemming from this external world view of us. Because inferences made on the basis of mere citing of names are more than biased across racial, gender and social perceptions commonly characterising chunks of the entire world existence, our names influence the way we are received by different sectors of the societal expression. In the case of job prospect for instance, our names play a considerable role in determining whether or not we would be considered to be interviewed for a position, in conformity with the prevalent ‘norms’ of what appeals and what does not to the collective consciousness. Needless to say such biased considerations as these, even when they stem from extremely external elements not in any way connected to our personal existences do eventually affect us to such extents that might even have us loathing our very name. And by that assertion therefore, through extension along this facet of deeply personal entailing not in our favour, this very basic spell of our identity leads to reduced self confidence and esteem affecting thereby the notion and the belief of living up to one’s name as an assertion of their primal identity in the utmost dignity of pride.

That though is just one facet of how our name ends up determining the jobs we get and therefore the trajectory across which our career spans. Another trail of this professional meandering surprisingly capable of influencing what we turn out to do and be stems though from within the self of the bearer as a psychological play of sorts known as normative determinism. What turns out is that we tend to be naturally more inclined to pursuing such passions and professions that somehow sit in sync with the essence embodied by our names. The principle guiding this seemingly innate tendency to gravitate towards professions evoking in some manner the identity of us through our names as a homogenous strand of self expression perhaps is one more intentional though- or it appears to be at least. A certain historical practice had been to grant people such jobs that somehow matched their names leading it perhaps to establish as an ingrained trait across the human experience of which we are now universally furthering. The point of the matter though is that our names dictate considerably indeed our professional choices and aspirations though that isn’t an influence reserved exclusively in the working pursuit of life.

As such factors that guide our coursing through the career route as implicit egoism upon which normative determinism expands its scope of working are also some other life explorations as diverse as marrying and relocating for instance. The playing out of the tendency to resonate in names even when it comes to such considerations of wedlock that are expected to thrive on love and compatibility among other things receives even accentuated a kick of egoism since scouting out partners with the same birth date for instance tends to be a common universal consideration as well. Phonetically similar names of places yield the same effect upon one’s psyche leading them to often relocate to such areas resounding almost in the ‘exclusivity’ of their belongingness. Beyond this drawing of inference from the similar sounds that names produce in extents of it being furthering of romantic ties also is another consideration of naming essence again that might also be potentially determining matches and couples, at least in how they begin out as. That has to do with the perception of names as cool or attractive or appealing, perhaps funky or unique at times, and ordinary and pleasing at others which can be as substantial a factor in leading others to fancy us in greater assertion even outside of relationship interests.

The dynamism of human names go way beyond the purview of perception to manifest also in rather visibility through facets of identity as apparent as one’s physicality. Which is why we tend to look so much like our names as a theory amply explored in psychological terms seems to support and substantiate. In fact prominent enough is this natural behavior of human to ‘groom’ themselves to fit in with society’s expectations out of our names striking of a certain chord in visual evocations to have earned an assertion of its own identity. Referred to as the Dorian Gray effect is this striking indeed quota of power availed out of something as basic as one’s name that leads us therefore to encompass veritable changes in our facial features throughout our living of life under the allusion of that moniker so much our own that we reflect off indeed the inherent quality of it in as physical manifestations of it as possible.

With such extent and range of what comes to be affected so much and so profoundly by the first and foremost trait of our identity, one that establishes us in the world way before we embark on our journey of carving an extended identity out of our selves, our names indeed are the pathways through which we eke out our own little but distinctive space in this world abounding still with hundreds and thousands of repetitions after our own. No wonder in such enormous might of it, that spans at once a peculiar emotion in a uniquely validating kind of representation and self expression, the mere mention of our names or even the evocation of its idea through such instances as say in passing by through utterance due to sharing it in common with some public figure sparks a certain pleasurable realisation in the brain. As a behavior in self representation so gratifying in its acknowledgment of our beings, hearing our own name through the accounts of others in utter clarity and proper pronunciation furthers only the notion just why our names are important enough entities across which we strive indeed to express our identities most fluently.